Minister must answer for child safety system failure

· Shannon Fentiman must explain how child protection system failed Mason Lee

· Too many vulnerable children left in abusive homes because of Child Safety investigation delays

· Minister still hasn’t deployed specialist investigation teams since being advised of backlogs in October 2015

The Opposition is calling on the Palaszczuk Government to stop hiding behind reviews and secrecy and finally explain how the child protection system failed baby Mason Lee and many more like him.

Shadow Minister for Child Safety Ros Bates said the Minister needed to take responsibility for the system that failed little Mason and start acting on the growing crisis in investigation delays.

“Child abuse response times continue to blow out because Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Minister refuse to act immediately to provide extra resources to frontline child safety officers to protect at-risk children,” Ms Bates said.

“Shannon Fentiman cannot hide behind reviews. Behind every statistic is another potential Mason Lee, who was known to the Minister’s Department and presented to hospital with significant injuries, but was still allowed to return home.

“The Minister was briefed back in October 2015 of worrying response times and still has not deployed specialist investigation teams since being advised.

“Queenslanders have an expectation their Government is there to make a decision and do something.”

Ms Bates said the Opposition would not comment on the ongoing police investigation related to Mason Lee, but said the Government needed to explain how the child protection system failed him.

“Too many Queensland children are being left in dangerous situations for too long and we need immediate action to ensure our kids are protected,” Ms Bates said.

“Figures released last week reveal that, under Labor, 10 per cent of Queensland children deemed to be in the most danger are not being seen within the recommended 24 hour time period.

“Seventy-one per cent of children that are supposed to be checked on within 5 days are not being seen in that timeframe.

“Queensland’s children in danger don’t need more reviews, they need action now before another child is lost because overworked frontline child safety workers can’t get to them.”

Ms Bates thanked Queensland Police for their dedication and perseverance in investigating the tragedy.

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